Abdel-Fattah Al-Gibali, Chairman of the Egyptian Media Production City company (EMPC), confirmed that the city is currently working on expanding its audiovisual heritage restoration center and transforming it into a regional and Arab center and house of expertise, thus aiming to preserve the audiovisual heritage of the region as a whole through cooperation with various countries of the world.
This came during the activities of the international symposium organized by EMPC in cooperation with the UNESCO under the title "Celebrating Egypt's Achievements in Preserving World Audiovisual Heritage and Strengthening International Cooperation" in which a large number of experts from Egypt, Arab countries and many countries of the world participated, whether by attendance or participation. Via video conference technology, including Dr. Bishr Imam on behalf of Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Muzaini, Regional Director and Resident Representative of the UNESCO Regional Office for Science in the Arab Countries, Dr. El-Sayed El-Absi, Assistant Secretary-General of the National Committee for UNESCO in Egypt, and Ms. Dina Youssef, Head of the Library Sector at the Biblioteca Alexandrina, Dr. Ahmed Samir, Director of the Digital Assets Repository and Integrated Library Systems at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Mr. Adly Touma, Chairman and CEO of Gemini Africa, Mr. Paul Hector, Communication and Information Advisor at the UNESCO Regional Office for Science in the Arab Countries, and Dr. Vakson Panda Head of the Documentary Heritage Unit at UNESCO, and Dr. Akansuke Takahashi, Advisor for Cultural Programs at the UNESCO Regional Library in the Arab Countries. A number of experts in this field also participated, via video conference, from a number of countries in different continents.
During his speech on this occasion, Al-Gibali welcomed all the attendees to this important event, which came on the cusp of EMPC’s celebration of its Silver Jubilee of 25 years since its inception, during which many films and series were produced, which are considered a great legacy, documenting many important events and activities, referring to EMPC as the largest civilized institution in the Middle East, as it includes most of the Egyptian and Arab channels operating in Egypt, in addition to studios and outdoor shooting areas characterized by its diversity to suit all types of filming.
El-Gibali added that as Egypt has a great cultural heritage represented in many documentaries and great radio and cinema heritage, EMPC therefore, decided to preserve this heritage and protect it from extinction and deterioration. In order to ensure the rights of future generations, it was necessary to preserve this legacy by creating an integrated archive for the Arab Republic of Egypt and the digitization of its content through the use of modern technology to restore thousands of old and dilapidated documentaries, and return them to their original position, using the best techniques applied in this field at EMPC’s audiovisual heritage restoration center, which includes high technical expertise. EMPC provides all the facilities and possibilities for this great national project, which was established in no time, and in the light of many challenges, foremost of which is the COVID 19 crisis.
El-Gibali added that the center has completed the restoration of a large number of documentaries presented by Egypt Cinema Newspaper, which documented the most important historical moments that the country went through, such as the visits of kings and presidents, and major political, sporting and cultural events, as 2,300 issues of this newspaper were restored, and became fully valid. This project is an unprecedented experience in the Arab region, which preserves the audio-visual heritage, whether it is documentaries, movies, drama series and recorded radio materials. At the end of his speech, Al-Gibali called on the UNESCO to reconsider the awards it offers so that a prize is allocated to those who submit projects to save the audiovisual heritage as an incentive to preserve the history of humanity to remain for future generations.
For his part, Dr. Al-Sayed Al-Absi thanked EMPC, which sought to preserve the audiovisual heritage through its Heritage Restoration Center, which contributed to preserve this heritage for future generations, as this documented heritage helps us to understand the world around us, and interact with others from through the follow-up and participation in major events that took place in the past. He explained that the Egyptian National Committee for Education, Science and Culture has an important role with the concerned authorities in working to achieve Egypt's Vision 2030 through providing advice and holding courses.
For his part, Dr. Bishr Imam praised the Egyptian achievements in supporting international cooperation, preserving audiovisual heritage, and EMPC’s role in this regard, through its Heritage Restoration Center, pointing out that audiovisual heritage plays a major role in understanding contemporary issues such as the climate issue, sustainable development and heritage preservation agreements.
On her part, Mrs. Dina Youssef spoke about how the UNESCO presented the program “Memory of the World to Preserve its Heritage”, noting that there are many recommendations in this regard so that peoples can have access to this documentary heritage. She also pointed to the importance of cooperation not only locally but also globally.
At the end of the session, an open dialogue was opened via video conference technology with a number of international experts from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean region who are concerned and interested in this regard.